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Hội An hones in on urban heritage conservation

Update: June, 15/2017 - 05:00
Visitors receive warm welcomes from Hội An’s residents. — VNS Photo Công Thành
Viet Nam News

HỘI AN — All deputies and participants signed the Hội An Declaration on Urban Heritage Conservation and Development 2017 at the International Conference on Urban Heritage in Hội An on Wednesday.

Participants agreed on 10 principles given by the 2017 Declaration, ensuring the effective and equitable conservation of Asia’s historic districts and urban heritage landscapes using an integrated approach and taking into account a broad conceptual context.

The participants also discussed the policies and mechanism needed to ensure active community participation in management of heritages. Tourism management will be part of conservation and management plan.

Heritage conservation will include Public-Private-Partnerships (PPP’s) that promote social and human development.

All agreed that heritage needs special attention in the context of fighting climate change and building sustainability.

The declaration also requires the documentation and transmission of the intangible cultural heritage represented in traditional knowledge and craftsmanship to be integral parts of urban conservation strategies.

The alignment of national and local regulation frameworks and international commitments, regional co-operation and sharing experiences must be strengthened through regular monitoring and assessment by national and local authorities with support from international organisations, heading to sustainable development goals.

Vice chairman of the National Heritage Council, Đặng Văn Bài, said heritage management in Hội An sets an example for other cities and provinces.

Bài said communities benefit from their heritage. All should join hands in protecting old houses, architecture and pagodas that have survived for centuries.

He also said the UNESCO  recognition of eight heritage sites in Việt Nam has helped protect treasures from damage.

Susan Vize, UNESCO’s head of Office in Việt Nam, said the world heritage site of Hội An will face the challenges of climate change, rapid urbanisation, population growth and natural disasters in the future.

Nguyễn Chí Trung, director of Hội An City’s Heritage Preservation and Management centre, said communities play a very important role in preserving world heritages.

Quảng Nam is the only place in Việt Nam with two world heritages, Hội An ancient town, Mỹ Sơn Sanctuary – and the world biosphere reserve Chàm Island-Hội An site.

Hans Detlef Kammeier, an international urban management expert, said Hội An is an interesting example to consider good and bad approaches in urban conservation.

Tristan Laurent Morel from UN-Habitat said Vietnamese historic cities, and natural conservation sites are under strong pressure in the context of fast urban growth, mass tourism development and climate change.

Phạm Vinh Quang, secretary general of the Việt Nam National Commission for UNESCO, said: “The Government of Việt Nam adopted the ‘National Green Growth Strategy’ with strong focus on sustainable cities since 2012 with specific targets achieved through a sustainable urban development approach.’

Architect Võ Đăng Phong, from Hội An City’s heritage management centre, said Hội An struggles against dozens of storms and floods annually.

Hội An, an UNESCO-recognised world heritage site in 1999, has more than 1,300 old houses and relics that have been well-preserved for over 300 years. — VNS



Participants at the International Conference on Urban Heritage Management and Development on Wednesday signed the 2017 Hội An Declaration. — VNS Photo Công Thành


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